SMR PROPERTY DATA: A VALUE-ADDED SOURCE
As most home lenders are well aware, there are large companies in the U.S. that gather property data from local tax assessors and county recorders.
SMR has alliances with these firms. But we do much more than merely pass along the same data to others. We fix data problems along the way.
Missing Interest Rates
A large majority of county recorder loan documents omit the interest rate on a loan. So, if all you do is obtain these data in raw form, you usually will have no idea what the rate is on an existing home owner’s mortgage.
But if you produce mortgage refinances, you need to know the existing interest rate. The only borrowers well-served by refinancing are those who could save money.
SMR uses six methods to estimate the interest rate on a loan when the actual rate is unavailable. Our estimates are good ones, and that’s what makes it possible for SMR to create likelihood-to-refinance scores (see Current SMR Models).
In SMR’s version of a national property database, every mortgage loan comes with an interest rate – actual or well-estimated.
If you had to forecast which consumers were likely to buy soft drinks at the grocery store this week, it would help to know who’s bought them regularly in the past.
The same principal applies to home loans. SMR’s version of property data includes loan histories on home owners, including counts of how many times someone has refinanced or obtained home equity loans since the date they bought their home.
Loan histories are predictive of future behavior. It’s why we maintain them.
On one loan document, the lender name may be: Bank of America National Association. On another, it may be BankAmerica. To a computer, these look like different companies.
Now, multiply that complexity: We have counted more than 600 versions of loans produced by Wells Fargo, including many where the company name is a subsidiary that doesn’t even include the word “Wells.”
What if you wanted to use county recorder loan data to determine where you stand against competitors, nationally or in any market?
SMR uniquely has assigned parent company names and codes to all loan records, enabling data to be aggregated by lender. When acquisitions occur, we re-assign the parent lender name to the acquirer.
This process makes raw data useful for analytical purposes. Without it, you just don’t know who made what loan.
Missing Square Footage
Local tax assessors often report the square footage of a home or commercial building. But more than 40% of the time, they don’t.
This omission is especially vexing on commercial properties, since they may range from 1,000-square-foot stores to 500,000-square-foot warehouses. If you don’t know the size, you don’t know the property.
SMR has created a square footage estimation model, currently applied to commercial properties. The model is based on the building’s market value, adjusted by use (hospitals are more valuable per square foot than warehouses) and other variables.
You can always check out a building in person, but that’s a little tough to do on all of the 10 million-plus commercial properties that exist in the United States. SMR’s size estimates allow clients to search, sort, and utilize data better than before.
Commercial Building Use & Tenants
Tax assessors do a pretty good job of disclosing whether a house is free-standing, a condo, a duplex, or mobile home.
The news is not so good in the commercial sector. Many tax assessors merely label all non-residential properties as “general commercial.” So, what really goes on at these places? Restaurant? Factory? Bowling alley?
SMR has built its own proprietary database of commercial building tenants and occupants from more than 200 sources.
Our tenants database is over 17 million records strong.
When the tax assessor says a building is merely “commercial,” but we show that the occupant is Joe’s Bar & Grill, we know exactly what’s going on there.
And, we supplement the tenants’ database with owner name string programming.
When the building use is undisclosed, but the owner is Johnson Funeral Home LLC, we get the feeling it’s a funeral home. That’s an easy one, of course. The actual program occupies more than 2,000 lines of code.
The tenants database not only helps determine how a building is being used.
It also enables us to deliver data on commercial properties that include tenant names – and even (in many cases) how long those tenants have been in business.
Using The Database
Clients can use the SMR version of property data under certain restrictions embedded in our contracts with the raw data providers.
Residential Property Data
On residential home data (excluding commercial apartment buildings), we provide predictive scores with database elements appended, including the SMR value-added fields and lots of property details.
But SMR is not permitted to provide residential property data to resellers.
There are a few other restrictions. But if we have restrictions applicable to your company, we can easily refer you to another source that can help you.
Commercial Property Data
SMR can supply commercial property data (including apartment buildings, all other commercial and industrial structures, and even farms) in a largely unrestricted way.
We have dozens of data elements on each building, including locations, owner names and addresses, building use, size, date purchased and purchase price, valuation, and more.
Call to inquire: 908-852-7677, and ask for Stu Feldstein.
Tenants & Occupants
For commercial buildings, the SMR Tenants And Occupants database currently numbers
over 17 million records. And we are expanding this database rapidly.
We can provide this database in bulk form without restriction.
If you need to know what firms are in a building – and how long they’ve been in business – we’ve got that information right now on 1.6 million buildings.
Tenants’ time in business is a key element in understanding risk and desirability.